Variety’s Tune In! TV Summit returns on June 13 at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills. Industry leaders will debate what programming will connect best with a highly divided multiplatform audience. What ad-supported and subscription-based models present the best opportunities for TV growth? Carefully curated panels of network presidents, CMOs, talent, showrunners and more share their insights about the future of TV.
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8:00 a.m. to 8:50 a.m. Registration
8:50 a.m. to 9 a.m. Opening Remarks
9 a.m. to 9:40 a.m. The Battle for TV Programming
Programming chiefs face an abundance of opportunity and challenge with today’s audiences. They can fall madly in love with series and loyally follow their favorite characters across platforms. As TV has never been more popular, there are many new programming outlets driving for a piece of the audience pie. How is TV upping its competitive game? How are established players continuing to stand out among native digital newcomers? What are overall trends in programming that are creating fans out of today’s viewers? Programming chiefs converge to share their stories.
Debra Birnbaum, Executive Editor, TV, Variety
Kelly Kahl, President, CBS Entertainment
Sandra Stern, President, Lionsgate Television
Gary Levine, President, Programming, Showtime
Michael Wright, President, Epix
Amy Powell, President of Paramount Television and Digital Entertainment
9:40 to 9:55 a.m. Unlikely Success Story – Crown Media’s When Calls the Heart
Cynthia Littleton, Managing Editor, Variety
Elizabeth Yost, SVP Development, Crown Media Family Networks
Brian Bird, Executive Producer and Showrunner, When Calls the Heart
9:55 a.m. to 10:25 a.m. Hulu Casting Secrets Revealed
Debra Birnbaum, Executive Editor, TV, Variety
Avy Kaufman, Casting Director, The Looming Tower
Bill Camp, Actor, The Looming Tower
Sharon Bialy, Casting Director, The Handmaid’s Tale
Samira Wiley, Actor, The Handmaid’s Tale
10:25 a.m. to 10:40 a.m. Going Behind the Scenes of OWN’s Love Is _
Debra Birnbaum, Executive Editor, TV, Variety
Salim Akil, Creator, Executive Producer
Michele Weaver, Actor, Love Is___
Will Catlett, Love Is___
Mara Brock Akil, Creator, Showrunner, Executive Producer, Director
10:40 a.m. to 11:10 a.m. Keynote Conversation with Mark Burnett, MGM President of Television and Digital Group
Interviewed by Cynthia Littleton, Managing Editor, TV
11:10 a.m. to 11:25 a.m. Networking Break
11:25 to 12:05 p.m. – Snackable TV – Delivering Addictive Video
Figuring out how to engaging today’s audiences is no easy feat. They can be as immersed in a social news feed full of quick clips as the latest hour-long episode of their favorite series. How are content creators and distributors and their partners conceiving and delivering video to today’s always-on audiences? How are distributors eyeing live streaming video as a viable new content category? How is the content community aligning with new platforms to reach new audience segments? Video and platform innovators converge to talk multiplatform snackable TV.
Andrew Wallenstein, Co-Editor-in-Chief, Variety
Devin Poolman, EVP Digital, Fox Consumer Networks Group
Paula Kaplan, EVP, Talent and Development, Viacom Digital Studios
Jay Levine, EVP, Warner Bros. Digital Network
Jason Flick, CEO, You.i TV
Wared Seger, CEO, Parrot Analytics
Idan Maron, VP Business Development, Applicaster
12:05 p.m. to 12:20 p.m. Keynote Conversation with Dawn Ostroff, President, Condé Nast Entertainment
Interviewed by Andrew Wallenstein, Co-Editor-in-Chief, Variety
12:20 p.m. to 1 p.m. Dollars and Sense – Targeted TV Advertising in Safe Environment
Today’s advertisers want it all – the analytics capabilities of digital platforms and the safe context that TV provides. To stay competitive, ad-supported networks are providing both opportunities: advanced audience analytics across their flagship network and online channels, multiplatform programmatic media buying operations and more. How are premium programming platforms attracting advertisers and staying ahead in the media landscape? Can TV capitalize on claims that many digital sites is too offensive for brand placement?
Cynthia Littleton, Managing Editor, Variety
Mike Rosen, Executive Vice President, Advanced Advertising and Platform Sales, NBCUniversal Media
Tiffany Kirk, Managing Director, Investment, Horizon Media
Mark Egan, Managing Director, West Coast, Mediacom
Dan Ackerman, Chief Revenue Officer, Samba TV
1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch
2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Keynote Conversation with Judd Apatow, Comedian and Filmmaker
Interviewed by Cynthia Littleton, Managing Editor, TV, Variety
2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Keynote Conversation: The Future of a Data-Driven TV Ecosystem
An exploration into how data allows digital marketing to drive tune-in across all platforms and the right transactional audiences to fuel and better monetize their ad-sales business.
Matt Weisbecker, SVP Sales and Strategy, Conversant
Andrew Wallenstein, Co-Editor-in-Chief, Variety
3 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. The Women Behind GENIUS: PICASSO
Carolyn Bernstein, EVP, Global Scripted TV, National Geographic
Francie Calfo, Chairman, Imagine Television Group
Davina LaMont, Head of Hair, Make-up, Prosthetics Department, NatGeo
Sonu Mishra, Costume Designer
Kelly Souders, Consulting Producer
Interviewed by Debra Birnbaum, Executive Editor, TV, Variety
3:15 p.m. to 3:55 p.m. Year-Round Series Marketing – The CMO Roundtable
Audiences are so fragile – torn between multiplying entertainment options – that a successful debut is no longer a guarantee that show will have legs. What are strategies for today’s TV marketers who are tasked with marketing year-round? How are marketers amplifying around live events to maximize the live viewership opportunity? Who are the partners helping connect marketers with today’s multiplatform viewership? Leading CMOs talk about successful TV promotion.
Ann-Christine Diaz, Creativity Editor, AdAge
Linda Schupack, EVP of Marketing, AMC and SundanceTV
Mike Benson, Head of Marketing, Amazon Studios
Anhelo Reyes, Head of Marketing, Paramount Network
Claudine Cazian, Head of Entertainment Partnerships, Instagram
Abbey Thomas, Chief Marketing Officer, Tremor Video DSP
3:55 p.m. to 4:25 p.m. Keynote Conversation with Bill Hader, Actor-Producer-Creator
Interviewed by Daniel Holloway, Senior TV Reporter, Variety
4:25 to 5:05 p.m. Jaw-Dropping TV – Building a Hit Reality Franchise
What is important in launching new unscripted programming that hits with viewers? How are creatives and executives engineering long-lasting, still-surprising reality franchises? Top creative and executive talent dish about what does it take to develop, produce and grow hot reality TV.
Debra Birnbaum, Executive Editor, TV, Variety
Ty Pennington, Co-Star, Trading Spaces
Lisa Vanderpump, Producer and Star (Vanderpump Rules, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills)
Julie Chen, Host, Big Brother franchise and Host, The Talk
Brooke Karzen EVP Unscripted & Alternative at Warner Horizon Unscripted & Alternative Television
Sam Donnelly, Executive Producer, America’s Got Talent
5:05 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Take Two – Reboot Mania
Showrunners from the recent boon of resurrected series talk about re-engaging old fans and attracting new fans to their reboots. How are shows chosen to re-launch? What is the process of signing back original talent? Leaders of Reboot TV share their creative process.
Daniel Holloway, Senior TV Reporter, Variety
David Collins, Creator, Queer Eye, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
Norman Lear, Executive Producer, One Day at a Time
Brent Miller, Executive Producer, One Day at a Time
SallyAnn Salsano, Creator, Executive Producer, Jersey Shore Family Vacation
5:45 to 6:45 p.m. Cocktail Reception
Who Is Speaking?
- Judd ApatowFilmmaker & Comedian
- Bill HaderActor/Co-Creator
- Dawn OstroffCondé Nast Entertainment
Dawn Ostroff is president, Condé Nast Entertainment (CNE), a company she helped found in 2011 when Condé Nast decided to build a thriving digital video, film, and television business based on its iconic brands and assets. CNE currently produces over 5,000 videos annually across 21 brands, garnering over 1 billion views a month, and has 35 active film projects and 30 television projects with Ostroff serving as a producer or executive producer. Prior to joining Condé Nast, Ostroff was president of entertainment for The CW broadcast network—a joint venture of CBS and Warner Bros. that she helped launch. Prior to that, she served as president of the UPN Network, executive vice president of entertainment at Lifetime Television and held senior roles at 20th Century Fox Television, Michael Jacobs Productions (at Disney) and the Kushner-Locke Company. She began her career working at several local channels in news as an on-air reporter and a producer.
- Mark BurnettMGM
James Mark Burnett is president of MGM Television and Digital Group.
He has won twelve Emmy Awards, five Producers Guild of America Awards, seven Critics’ Choice Television Awards, and six People’s Choice Awards.
Currently, Burnett is the executive producer of five network television shows: The Voice(NBC), Survivor (CBS), Shark Tank (ABC), Steve Harvey’s FunderDome (ABC) and Jamie Foxx’s Beat Shazam (FOX). In 2017, Burnett had timeslot winning shows five nights out of the week.
In April 2018, Burnett announced an additional network series titled “TKO: Total Knock Out” (CBS) with host Kevin Hart shooting this Spring.
As President of MGM Television, Burnett also oversees numerous award-winning scripted television shows including Fargo (FX),The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu), Vikings (History) and Teen Wolf (MTV).
- Matt WeisbeckerConversant
Matt is the Senior Vice President of Sales & Strategy for Conversant and leads the Media & Entertainment Vertical, overseeing a team focused on developing, selling and executing digital media campaigns across display, mobile and video formats. Holding senior leadership positions at Amazon Media Group, NBCU and AOL, Matt developed and implemented entertainment strategies across Amazon and IMDb, executing the first rich media homepage video takeover of Amazon.com for the Lorax and the streaming of ABC’s Once Upon A Time Premier for Amazon Instant Video. At NBCU, Matt worked with media divisions to integrate digital solutions across NBC, NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, Bravo, SyFy, USA and Oxygen and worked to develop the strategies behind full episode players, including the launch of what would become Hulu. At AOL Matt built out TV/Video strategies for AOL/Moviefone and AOL Instant Messenger, launching TV’s Top Five and the AIM Video Player. A member of Think LA, LVIMA, DFWIMA and SF Big, Matt continues to focus on delivering unique and innovative marketing opportunities leveraging Data to drive the next wave of TV and Video advertising.
- Samira WileyActress
SAMIRA WILEY currently plays Moira on Hulu’s original drama series The Handmaid’s Tale, a role that earned her an Emmy and NAACP Image Award nomination. She is also well known for her SAG Award winning performance as inmate Poussey on Orange Is the New Black. Wiley can be seen next in the independent film Social Animals.
Wiley’s past film credits include Detroit (directed by Kathryn Bigelow), 37, Nerve, Rob The Mob, Being Flynn and The Sitter. Additional television credits include a starring role on YouTube Red’s comedy series Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on TV, recurring roles on You’re the Worst and Unforgettable as well as appearances on The Catch, Law & Order: SVU and Person of Interest. Wiley also starred in the Off-Broadway play Daphne’s Dive, directed by Thomas Kail (Hamilton). She is a graduate of The Julliard School.
- Bill CampActor
Bill Camp is best known for his Emmy Nominated performance in HBO’s critically acclaimed limited series The Night Of. Up next, he will share the screen alongside Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell in the highly anticipated Yorgos Lanthimos film The Killing of a Sacred Deer which hits theaters on October 27th. He will also have a pivotal role alongside Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba and Kevin Costner in the Aaron Sorkin directed drama Molly’s Game which hits theaters Christmas Day. Bill most recently shot the Francis Lawrence-directed spy thriller Marble, based on Jason Matthew’s espionage novel. This film also marks his second time working with Steve Zaillian, who is attached as a producer on the Fox feature. Additionally, Bill filmed The Land Of Steady Habits both written and directed by Nicole Holofcener with Anthony Bregman of Likely Story producing. Bill also co-starred alongside Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan in Wildlife, Paul Dano’s directorial debut. Other upcoming films include Woman Walks Ahead directed by Susanna White, and Scott Cooper’s latest feature, Hostiles. This will be his second time working with Cooper, as the duo previously collaborated on Black Mass.
Last year, Bill held key roles in Midnight Special and Loving (both from writer-director Jeff Nichols) as well as Jason Bourne directed by Paul Greengrass. Bill has also appeared in Gold for director Stephen Gaghan, Aloha for director Cameron Crowe, Birdman (Academy Award Winner, Best Picture) for director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Love & Mercy, 12 Years a Slave, Lincoln, Compliance, Lawless, Tamara Drewe and Public Enemies. On the small screen he has played recurring roles on The Leftovers, Manhattan, Boardwalk Empire and Damages.
A veteran of the stage, Bill received a Tony Award nomination for his performance as Reverend John Hale in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, directed by Ivo Van Hove and produced by Scott Rudin. He is an alumnus of The Juilliard School and recipient of several awards and honors, including the Obie, Elliot Norton, Drama Desk, and Boston Critics Association.
- Ann-Christine DiazAdAge
- Michael BensonAmazon Studios
Michael Benson is best known for his innovation, creativity and entrepreneurial endeavors in the entertainment industry. He develops and implements strategic marketing campaigns that build brands, raise the creative bar, effectively engage audiences and drive business performance.
He is currently head of marketing for Amazon Studios/Amazon Prime Video, overseeing all marketing, promotional, branding and awards activities surrounding Amazon Original programming for Amazon Prime Video. He’s charged with building a global marketing operation for the subscription digital video streaming service, as he launches and markets a wide range of adult and children’s programming, including series such as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Grand Tour, The Man in the High Castle, Goliath, Tumble Leaf and many more.
Prior to Amazon, he was president of Hurryback Inc., a company he created to apply entertainment marketing strategies and creative content development to drive audiences, brand engagement and revenue for digital and traditional media companies.
Mr. Benson has held significant executive, strategic and creative positions within several major entertainment media companies. As chief creative officer for the Time Warner Global Media Group, he developed partnerships with industry leading marketers to create and distribute premium content, applications and experiences that built brands and drove business growth through advertising revenue, marketing, programing, business development and corporate synergy opportunities across the Time Warner portfolio, including Warner Bros., HBO, Turner and Time Inc.
Prior to Time Warner, Mr. Benson spent over 12 years at The Walt Disney Company, serving as executive vice president, Marketing for the ABC Entertainment Group. He oversaw all marketing and promotional activities for ABC Primetime, Late Night and ABC Studios programming. He created a host of globallyexecuted and highly recognized marketing campaigns for scripted and non-scripted series, specials, movies and mini-series, including Modern Family, Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, Dancing with the Stars, Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Bachelor. He was a leader in formulating a vision for the development of a program franchising strategy that built shows like Lost and Desperate Housewives into global franchises that spurred significant growth for the company.
He created and launched the television industry’s first cross-platform, brand identity and viewernavigation system with the ABC Start Here initiative and he was instrumental in the creation and development of the ABC Music Lounge, ABC’s first digital platform for music, tied to ABC programming and marketing efforts. He began at ABC in June of 1998 as senior vice president, Advertising and Promotion and implemented ABC’s infamous Yellow/TV is Good campaign to the general consumer.
Mr. Benson joined ABC from VH1/MTV Networks, where he was senior vice president, Promotion & Program Planning. He was instrumental in redefining VH1’s position as a cable music channel, creating a new brand position through the launch of original content. He programmed and launched the VH1 original series Behind the Music, Pop Up Video, Legends, Stortyellers and The Rock & Roll Picture Show. His work helped to reinvent music on television for an adult audience and contributed to significant ratings gains for the cable network.
Prior to VH1, Mr. Benson served as director of communications for KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, CA and held various positions at WCCO-TV, the CBS owned and operated station in Minneapolis, MN, where he began his career.
For his endeavors, Mr. Benson received 9 Clio awards, including 2 Grand Clio awards for his work at Amazon. He received ABC’s first marketing Emmy Award in 2009, was named an Entertainment Marketer of the Year in 2008, 2007 and 2005 by Ad Age and, in 2000, by Brandweek magazine. He was also recipient of the PromaxBDA and Brand Builder Award in 2004 and recipient of the Campaigns of Distinction Award in 2007 and 2004. Mr. Benson was named one of the top Hispanic marketers of the year by AdWeek’s Marketing y Medios Magazine in 2005.
Mr. Benson served on the Promax/BDA board of directors for 9 years, 5 of which he served as Chairman. He was an adjunct professor for Boston University, teaching media and entertainment marketing under a program based in Los Angeles, CA.
Married and father of three, Mr. Benson resides in Los Angeles, CA.
- Sam DonnellyAmerica's Got Talent
- Linda SchupackAMC Networks
- Idan MaronApplicaster
As a keen new-media strategist and VP of Business Development at Applicaster, Idan focuses on driving partnerships and expansion strategies for Applicaster’s SaaS platform to global players in the TV industry. Applicaster’s services are adopted by leading broadcasters, content owners, and format developers, including DirecTV, Fox Intl, Mediaset, ProSiebenSat.1, Televisa and TV brands including The Voice, The X Factor, The Amazing Race, and The Big Brother. Idan constantly explores new media and content delivery innovations in order to make them a reality for viewers worldwide. Prior to joining Applicaster, he held managerial positions in the video advertising and production industries, successfully leading product development and sales activities.
- Avy KaufmanCasting Director
- Kelly KahlCBS Entertainment
- Sonu MishraCostume Designer
- David CollinsCreator
David Collins is a three time Emmy Award winning producer and and co owner of Scout Productions, a film and television company. He is the creator and Executive Producer of the new Queer Eye which launched unscripted programming on Netflix worldwide and is one of the most buzzed about shows of 2018. Upon reinvigorating the genre and becoming a social media phenomenon, Netflix recently announced season 2 is coming soon.
Collins led on the original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and was a vanguard contributor to the personal transformation reality boom of the past decade and a half. That series was created with his ground breaking “Make Better” network model of storytelling, which immediately became the cornerstone of Bravo’s network model and inspired scores of subsequent personal improvement reality programs. Scout produces Home Made Simple with Laila Ali, currently in season nine on OWN and the Oscar winning documentary The Fog of War with Errol Morris.
- Elizabeth YostCrown Media
- Michael WrightEPIX
Michael Wright is the President of EPIX. Based in the Beverly Hills office, Michael is responsible for expanding the network’s slate of original programming and leading the creative and marketing efforts.
Prior to joining EPIX, Michael was the Chief Executive Officer of Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks Pictures and Amblin Pictures, the latter which he helped launch in 2015. Under Wright’s leadership, the company most recently released the hit films The Girl on the Train, Office Christmas Party and A Dog’s Purpose, and prepared the upcoming films The Post, Ready Player One, and The House with a Clock in its Walls, starring Jack Black and Cate Blanchett. Prior to joining DreamWorks Studios in 2014, Wright was President, Head of Programming for TBS, TNT, and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). During Wright’s tenure at Turner, he led TNT and TBS to the top of the cable charts for 10 straight years. Wright programmed some of the biggest hits on cable television, with commercial and award-winning success across all the networks, including the record setting and acclaimed series The Closer, Into the West, Southland, Men of a Certain Age and Falling Skies for TNT, and Conan, My Boys, Cougar Town and Angie Tribeca for TBS. For TCM, Wright oversaw the development and production of the Emmy nominated documentary Moguls and Movie Stars: The History of Hollywood, the acclaimed TCM: A Night at the Movies franchise, and the Emmy winning AFI: Lifetime Achievement Award specials.
- Norman LearExecutive Producer
Norman Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film, political and social activism, and philanthropy. At 95, he has no plans to retire and has continued producing under his ACT III Productions banner. His re-imagined Cuban-American version of the iconic One Day at a Time, now steaming on Netflix, was nominated for the 77th annual Peabody Awards and renewed for a third season. His weekly podcast, All of the Above with Norman Lear, is available on PodcastOne. Lear is also an executive producer on the award-winning Epix docuseries America Divided, now in its second season. Currently, he is in production on the pilot of Guess Who Died, a NBC comedy featuring the overlooked demographic of senior citizens.
Born in 1922 in New Haven, Connecticut, Lear flew 52 combat missions over Europe in World War II before beginning his television career. His classic shows of the 1970s and ‘80s — All in the Family, Maude, Good Times, The Jeffersons, Sanford and Son and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, among others — collectively reached as many as 120 million viewers per week and are said to have transformed the American cultural landscape, bringing the social and political issues of the day into American living rooms for the first time. With the rise of the radical religious right, Lear put his career on hold in 1980 to found People For the American Way, the nonprofit organization that remains a relevant and effective force defending all aspects of the First Amendment.
Lear was among the first seven television pioneers inducted in 1984 into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. In 1999 President Clinton presented him with the National Medal of Arts, noting, “Norman Lear has held up a mirror to American society and changed the way we look at it.” His memoir, Even This I Get to Experience, was published in 2014, and the 2016 documentary Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You received an Emmy nomination as the representative program for the PBS American Masters series. In 2017, Lear received a Peabody Lifetime Achievement Award and was a Kennedy Center Honoree.
He is the father of six, the grandfather of four, and the husband of Lyn Davis Lear.
- Brian BirdExecutive Producer & Showrunner
- Jeff HughesFox Networks Group
Jeff Hughes is an experienced media executive who has focused his career on technology and its impact on consumer consumption of all digital products. He is currently President of Fox Networks’ Digital Consumer Group (DCG). In this role, Hughes leads digital strategy and execution for the company’s entertainment and sports brands, including overseeing its TV Everywhere and streaming products.
Hughes previously served as President of Technology and Innovation for DCG and was an integral part of the launch of the company’s new streaming platform, currently deployed across its authenticated apps.
Before joining Fox, Hughes served for five years as CEO and then Chairman of the Board for Omnifone, a UK-based digital music streaming company that provided technology, operations, and licensing services for some of the world’s largest companies. Prior to that, he was the Director of IT and Strategy (CIO) for BSkyB, where he oversaw a team of 1500 people charged with building and operating all of the company’s technology systems, including broadcast, commerce, CRM, back office and playout. Hughes began his career in consulting rising to senior positions in PwC and IBM.
Hughes is a graduate of TCU and received an MBA from Clemson University.
- Julie ChenHost
Julie Chen serves as host and moderator of THE TALK, CBS’ Daytime Emmy Award-winning talk show that examines topical events and contemporary issues through the eyes of five female hosts. She hosts alongside Eve, Sara Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne and Sheryl Underwood. Chen, who won the Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Hosts Daytime Emmy for the first time in 2017, is also part of THE TALK’s writing team that won its first Daytime Emmy in 2015 for Outstanding Writing Special Class. In addition, Chen hosts the hit summer reality series BIG BROTHER. In February 2018, she hosted the first U.S. edition of BIG BROTHER: CELEBRITY EDITION.
Chen served as Special Contributing Anchor of CBS News’ weekday morning broadcast “The Early Show” from 2010 to 2011, and co-anchor from 2002 to 2010. Prior to that, she served as the news anchor of “The Early Show” and anchor of the “CBS Morning News,” the CBS Television Network’s early-morning, half-hour broadcast, beginning Nov. 1, 1999, when “The Early Show” debuted under that title.
Chen covered several major news stories for “The Early Show,” including the war in Iraq, and in March 2003 she reported for the program during the conflict from Kuwait and Qatar. Chen interviewed newsmakers such as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Queen Rania of Jordan, former Defense Secretary William Cohen, and celebrities including Tom Hanks, Ellen DeGeneres, Tom Cruise, Ben Affleck, Angelina Jolie, Chris Rock and Jennifer Lopez.
Prior to “The Early Show,” Chen worked as a reporter and anchor for WCBS-TV, the CBS-owned station in New York (1997-1999).
Before joining CBS News, Chen was a reporter for WDTN-TV Dayton (1995-1997). She was a producer for ABC NewsOne (1992-1995), the network’s affiliate news service, and she was a desk assistant in ABC News’ Los Angeles bureau (1990-1991), where she worked on the award-winning primetime special, “Anatomy of a Riot.”
Chen is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. A devoted yogi, Chen says there’s no better way than yoga to start her day.
Chen was born in Queens, N.Y. She graduated from the University of Southern California in 1991 with a degree in broadcast journalism and English. She lives in New York and Los Angeles with her husband, Leslie Moonves, with whom she has a son, Charlie, and three stepchildren, Adam, Sara and Mike. Follow Julie on Twitter @JulieChen and on Instagram @juliechencbs.
- Ty PenningtonHost
- Brandon TeitelHQ Trivia
Brandon Teitel is HQ Trivia’s Head of Programming and Strategic Partnerships, where he oversees the groundbreaking platform’s lineup and its relationships with brands. Often referred to as the future of TV, his efforts have helped HQ become a pop-culture phenomenon, with appointment-based interactive shows that capture the attention of millions who play against each other – live on their phones each day.
Teitel has brokered deals with Nike, Warner Bros. and NBCUniversal, creating innovative integrations that enhance the experience for players.
Prior to joining HQ, Teitel served as VP of Brand Strategy at Postmates and spent over a decade at CNBC, producing Jim Cramer’s Mad Money and Donny Deutsch’s The Big Idea. He graduated from New York University and is a native New Yorker, currently residing there with his husband and dog, Madeline.
- Francie CalfoImage Television
- Claudine Cazian BritzInstagram
Claudine Cazian Britz is a respected business leader with over a decade of experience in media programming, entertainment, and branded content creation.
Currently, she is the Head of Entertainment Partnerships at Instagram, a division for which she works closely with public figures, television, film and media companies.
In this role, Claudine works closely with all entertainment partners on their digital strategies, growth and platform development. Instagram is used by 800M+ people worldwide (on a monthly basis). Claudine a global-thinking executive with deep knowledge of various cultures and media landscapes, and a strong understanding of best practices.
Prior to her role at Instagram, Claudine was the VP of Programming & Brand Partnerships at iHeartMedia for the globally syndicated “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” radio show. Seacrest programming reaches 20 million people weekly, and on 500 stations worldwide,
Claudine has been defined as a “force” and is exceptional at building and leading teams, bringing order to chaos, and spearheading initiatives that generate effective results.
Additionally, she seamlessly liaises with internal and external stakeholders in pursuit of revenue generating ideas and compelling content creation.
Claudine received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Loyola Marymount University and holds a Master of Arts in Communications and Entertainment from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
She currently resides in Los Angeles, and enjoys spending time with her family, friends and traveling the world.
- Sandra SternLionsgate Television Group
Sandra Stern is President of the Lionsgate Television Group and has been a key member of the Company’s senior management team for the past 15 years. She has helped guide Lionsgate’s television business to record-breaking revenue growth during nearly every year of her tenure and has been instrumental in tripling the size of the television slate, which encompasses nearly 90 series on 40 U.S. networks.
One of the industry’s consummate deal-makers, Ms. Stern has innovated ground-breaking linear and streaming platform deals for iconic Lionsgate series including Mad Men, Weeds and Orange is the New Black as well as The Royals, Casual and Greenleaf. She also spearheaded a unique deal that facilitated Nashville’s transition to CMT and Hulu, paved the way for Step Up: High Water to become the first original series for YouTube Red, and negotiated deals for upcoming series The Rook (Starz) and The Kingkiller Chronicle (Showtime).
At the corporate level, Ms. Stern was instrumental in the Company’s December 2016 acquisition of Starz and formation of its multi-faceted partnership with New Regency.
She began her career in the Columbia Pictures Television legal department, followed by a stint with the law firm Bloom, Hergott, Cook, Diemer & Klein LLP. She headed business affairs and international development at New World Entertainment, where she met Jon Feltheimer, and has worked with him for 30 years, first at New World, then Columbia TriStar Television and most recently at Lionsgate.
A graduate of UCLA Law School, Ms. Stern is a founding member of their LEAD program and serves on the Board of the Law School’s Ziffren Center, where she also teaches. She is on the Board of the Saban Clinic and Center Theatre Group, and is active in the Rape Treatment Center. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles honored her with its Excellence in Mentoring Award in 2015.
- Mark EganMediacom
In his role as Managing Director – West Coast, Mark helps his teams drive service and product excellence across their various assignments collaborating with other agencies to constantly break new ground. As part of the MediaCom executive team Mark draws on our award winning resources around the globe to power solutions on the West Coast. Previously, within GroupM, Mark served as Chief Client Officer at Maxus for the Americas. In that role he helped their client service teams consistently achieve service scores among the highest in the industry.
Prior to coming to GroupM, Mark served as EVP, Global Director of New Business and Network Development at Havas Digital. As a key member of their corporate team, he was responsible for leading new business efforts on a worldwide level, drawing together local and global team resources for multiple-market pitches. His role was also to set the agenda for the network’s strategy function which led media thought leadership for the broader Havas Media organization. Additional responsibilities included bringing back learning from global pitches and from across the network and apply it to product development and partnership strategy.
Throughout his 22-year career in media, Mark has worked in many roles and agency structures in New York and San Francisco at J. Walter Thompson, Y & R, and Organic.
- Mike RosenNBCUniversal Media
- Davina LaMontNational Geographic Channel
- Carolyn BernsteinNational Geographic Channel
- Claudia Cahill Omnicom
- Mara Brock AkilOWN
Writer and producer of over 300 episodes of television, Mara Brock Akil has truly left her mark on Hollywood. Beginning her career as a writer on series such as South Central, Moesha, and The Jamie Foxx Show, Akil quickly rose in the ranks proving herself to be both a pivotal voice in storytelling, as well as an incredibly talented producer. Following her work on those shows, Akil went on to create the seminal television series Girlfriends in 2000. Groundbreaking in many ways, the series was a witty, intelligent and honest exploration of the many facets of black womanhood through the lens of four very different women. The series aired for 8 seasons, during which it was one of the highest-rated scripted shows among African-Americans ages 18-34 and bravely tackled an endless number of issues, including colorism, AIDS and class issues. Additionally, during that time, Akil developed the spin-off series The Game, which premiered in 2006 quickly becoming a fan-favorite, as well. This fandom became undeniable in 2009 when, upon cancellation, loyal fans of The Game took to social media to launch a campaign to save the series. Taking notice, BET stepped and struck a deal to renew the series and develop additional episodes, which ultimately garnered record-breaking ratings when the show premiered on its new home. In 2013, she and her husband/producing partner Salim Akil, developed their first one-hour drama, Being Mary Jane, which debuted to over 4 million viewers further lamenting her ability to tell powerful and engaging stories that audiences are drawn to. In 2016, The Akils moved their company, Akil Productions, to Warner Bros. Television with a multi-year overall deal. The pair have been busy since making the move and will launch 2 new series in 2018 under the pact – Black Lightning, which premiered in January on The CW, and Love Is__ , which will debut this June on OWN.
Beyond her work as a writer and producer, Akil has consistently been recognized by her peers as a leader in the industry. In 2013, she was honored by Essence magazine with their Visionary Award during their annual Black Women in Hollywood luncheon, as well as being recognized as an honoree during that year’s Black Girls Rock Awards. Additionally, Akil has been named to Variety and The Hollywood Reporter’s Showrunner Power List multiple times, and has made The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Power100 for the past 3 years and running.
Akil’s impact transcends entertainment as she dedicates a great deal of time to philanthropic efforts. She held leadership roles and contributed to LAXArt, The Underground Museum, The Samburu Project, Dance Theatre of Harlem and The Studio Museum of Harlem. In 2014, Girls, Inc. honored Akil for her work inspiring and advocating for girls everywhere. Additionally, she serves on several boards, including the advisory board for the Humanitas Prize, WGA West’s Board of Directors, and Northwestern University’s School of Communication National Advisory Council. In the Fall of 2017, Northwestern honored Akil for the positive impact she has made in television and film by presenting her with their prestigious Medill Alumni Award and inducting her into the Medill Hall of Achievement.
Akil currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons.
- Salim AkilOWN
With nearly two decades in the entertainment industry working as a writer, director and producer under his belt, Salim Akil has successfully established himself as a talented multi-hyphenate in both television and film.
Currently, Akil serves as showrunner on the critically acclaimed series Black Lightning. Based on the first African-American superhero to be created by DC Comics, the series was developed for television by Akil and has earned praise for elevating the ever-popular superhero genre with its poignant, nuanced conversations about the black experience; touching on a range of topics from fatherhood to racism to profiling to love and hope without compromising the action and adventure that superhero fans expect from comic book content. Along with rave reviews, Black Lightning premiered this past January to solid ratings for The CW becoming the networks highest rated new series premiere in several years. The series remained a consistently strong performer for the network throughout its 13-episode, and has already received a season two order. Akil executive produces the series alongside wife/producing partner, Mara Brock Akil, through their Akil Productions shingle. In 2016, The Akils moved the company to Warner Bros. Television with a new multi-year overall deal. The pair have been busy since making the move and will launch 2 new series in 2018 under the pact – Black Lightning for The CW and Love Is__, which will debut on OWN this June.
Akil’s past projects include some of the most beloved and influential African-American projects of the past several decades. Among his past television credits are the popular BET drama Being Mary Jane and the record-breaking ensemble comedy series The Game, both of which he served as executive producer, director, and writer on. Akil also directed several episodes of the seminal television series Girlfriends marking the first professional collaboration between he and Brock Akil. Prior to that, Akil began his television career as a staff writer on the hit drama series Soul Food, where he was quickly promoted through the ranks to executive producer, as well as serving as a regular director on the series. On the feature side, Akil made his feature directorial debut in 2011 with Sony Pictures’ JUMPING THE BROOM, which would earn him the NAACP Image award for Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture the following year. Akil would go on to also direct the high-profile remake of Sparkle in 2012, and the television movie The Start Up.
Akil began his career as a filmmaker with the 1998 independent feature film Drylongso, which he co-wrote and produced with Cauleen Smith on a budget of just $25,000. Featured in the 1999 Sundance and Berlin film festivals, Drylongso won the Grand Jury Prize at the Urbanworld Film Festival.
Born in Oakland, California, Akil was raised in nearby Richmond. He attended Columbia College in Los Angeles where he studied film and television production. The proud father of 4 children, Akil currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and two youngest sons.
- Will CatlettOWN
Will Catlett plays “Yasir” on OWN’s new original drama “Love Is___.” An actor, writer, director and producer, Will Catlett was born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia where he attended the legendary T.C. Williams High School whose football team was the subject of the 2000 film, “Remember the Titans.” Catlett played four years of NCAA basketball, but his hoop dreams ended after completing his secondary education at the University of La Verne in California.
Because of his love for the arts, Catlett quickly set his sights on a career in entertainment, moving to Los Angeles in 2007, where he has had much success appearing in several popular television shows, films, and commercials. Most recently, Catlett appeared as a recurring guest star on “Black Lightning” for The CW Network. Prior to that, Catlett also appeared in CBS’s “The Mentalist,” HBO’s “Insecure” and “Brothers in Atlanta.” Catlett gained popularity in lead roles on the streaming YouTube series “First,” and “That Guy.” Behind the camera, he has lent his talents to “Giants” for Issa Rae Presents, the feature film “Griffin,” the brilliant short film “Stages” in which he also stars, and the television series “Garden Hills.”
He is also a talented spoken word poet, comedian, and dancer.
- Michele WeaverOWN
Michele Weaver, who plays ‘Nuri’ in OWN’s new original drama “Love Is___,” is well on her way to becoming a major force in Hollywood.
On the big screen, Weaver most recently shot the thriller “Nighthawks,” with Chace Crawford. She also starred in “Illicit,” with Vivica A. Fox; “Sister Code,” with Amber Rose, Drew Sidora, and Eva Marcille; and Syfy’s “2 Lava 2 Lantula!” Her other television credits include ABC Family’s “Switched at Birth” and FOX’s “Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life,” among many others.
She was first noticed as the star in two short films; the 1960’s musical “Diana Leigh” and the drama “The Daughters of Eve.” She also played Dorothy Dandridge in “The Nicholas Brothers Tribute” and “Marilyn! The New Musical” at the 1400 seat Alex Theater.
Weaver attended Pepperdine University and majored in Theatre Acting and Media Production under a Theater Arts Scholarship. She traveled with the theater program to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. She is from Colorado and currently resides in Los Angeles.
- Lisa VanderpumpProducer and Star
Businesswoman, TV personality, author, and philanthropist Lisa Vanderpump hails from London, England. Lisa and her husband Ken Todd have been entrenched in the restaurant and nightclub industry since they started their partnership over 30 years ago.
Lisa Vanderpump’s foray into television began with “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” on Bravo. She also serves as an executive producer on Bravo’ s hit series “Vanderpump Rules,” which centers on her West Hollywood eatery SUR, as well as Beverly Hills favorites Villa Blanca and PUMP. Lisa also served as an executive producer on Bravo’s “Vanderpump Rules: Jax & Brittany Take Kentucky.” Additionally, she competed on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” in 2013.
More recently, Lisa has been named Editor-in-Chief of Beverly Hills Lifestyle Magazine, one of the world’s leading luxury publications. On top of this endeavor, Lisa’s brands have included her “Vanderpump Beverly Hills” tabletop collection, the “Vanderpump Estate Jewelry” Collection, a pet accessories line at VanderpumpPets.com, and a soon-to-be-released fine jewelry collection. Lisa also has her family’s signature Vanderpump Vodka, Vanderpump Rosé and LVP Sangria in retail and on-premise outlets both domestically and internationally.
Most importantly, Lisa’s philanthropic ventures are extremely close to her heart. In 2017, Lisa and her husband Ken launched The Vanderpump Dog Foundation to help end animal abuse on both an international and domestic level, and opened the doors to their flagship rescue and adoption center last year. Currently, the 501(c)(3) non-profit Foundation has adopted over 520 dogs to their new forever homes. In October 2015, Vanderpump organized a peaceful protest march against The Yulin Dog Meat Festival and launched StopYulinForever.org, starting a movement to end the abuse, torture and slaughter of dogs worldwide. Lisa went on to address Congress about the same issues and produce her documentary, “The Road to Yulin…and Beyond,” which covers the last two years of The Vanderpump Dog Foundation’s mission trips to China, to expose the torture that occurs during the annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival. The Documentary held its World Premiere at the LA Awareness Festival, where it subsequently won the Audience Award.
Lisa and husband Ken have been steadfast advocates for the LGBTQ community for many years. Lisa is a spokesperson for GLAAD and has worked closely with the Desert AIDS Project, The Trevor Project, and the L.A Gay & Lesbian Center helping homeless LGBT youth. She received the Ally Leadership Award from Equality California, an LGBT rights organization, in 2015. Lisa has also conducted fundraising for Susan G. Komen in honor of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month, and led the 30th annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles, cutting the starting ribbon for over 25,000 walkers. In 2015, Lisa was named Monarch of the Krewe of Orpheus Mardi Gras celebration; addressed the United Nations Concert for the EBOLA effort; and was recognized by the State of California Assembly as “Woman of the Year.”
Lisa and Ken have been married for 35 years and have two children. Lisa has a great passion for life and she has tried to instill that in her children: Pandora, 31, and Max, 25. She and Ken currently reside in Beverly Hills with their 2 miniature ponies, 7 dogs, 7 swans and a variety of other animals.
- Amy PowellParamount
Amy Powell serves as President of Paramount Television and Digital Entertainment, a part of Paramount Pictures which is a subsidiary of Viacom. Paramount TV finances and develops television content for leading broadcast, premium cable, cable and streaming audiences. Powell oversees the studio’s production of original programming and television adaptations of select movies from Paramount’s rich film library.
Under Powell’s purview, Paramount TV has fostered strong relationships with the top creators and producers on and off screen to develop cutting-edge content for television including George Clooney, Tom McCarthy, Joe and Anthony Russo, Alex Cary, Tracy Oliver, Brian Yorkey, Morten Tyldum, Mike Flanagan, Trevor Macy, Anne Rice, Cary Fukunaga, Carlton Cuse, John Krasinski, Mark Wahlberg, Selena Gomez, Eric Roth, Kim Rosenstock, Patrick Somerville and Paul Feig, among others.
Paramount TV’s robust slate of programming includes Tom Clancy’s “Jack Ryan” (Amazon), “13 Reasons Why” (Netflix), “Maniac” (Netflix), “Shooter” (USA), “Berlin Station” (EPIX), “The Alienist” (TNT), “The Haunting of Hill House” (Netflix), “Catch-22” (Hulu), “First Wives Club” (Paramount Network), “Galaxy Quest” (Amazon), “Girls Code” (Freeform), “Dream Team” (BET), “The Contender” (EPIX) and “Snow Crash” (Amazon), among others.
In 2016, the studio received its first-ever 10 nominations and five Emmy® award wins for the breakthrough hit “Grease: Live,” the most nominations and wins ever received for a live televised musical.
From 2010-2015, Powell was President of Insurge Pictures. Powell has received numerous industry awards including being named to The Hollywood Reporter’s 2017 Women in Entertainment Power 100 list and Variety’s 2017 Women’s Impact Report. She serves on the board for both Makers and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles.
Powell holds a BA from Emory University and a MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA.
- Anhelo ReyesParamount Network
Reyes played an integral role in the launch of Paramount Network and is responsible for driving the development and execution of all brand and franchise consumer marketing strategy including overseeing all off-channel marketing with paid media, events and promotions, and promotional partnerships. She is also charged with developing the digital strategy to drive growth and engagement across Paramount Network’s owned and operated platforms.
Reyes most recently served as Vice President, Brand Marketing and Activation for Spike TV (soon to be Paramount Network) where she oversaw brand and consumer marketing for Spike and developed strategic, innovative and creative marketing plans for the network’s key initiatives including “Lip Sync Battle,” “Ink Master,” “The Mist,” “TIME: The Kalief Browder Story,” and “TUT.” Prior to that, Reyes served as Vice President, Marketing at Fusion, an ABC-Univision joint venture, where she led the marketing efforts to launch the network.
Reyes spent seven years with Paramount’s fellow Viacom network, Nickelodeon. Her most recent position at Nickelodeon was Vice President, Property Planning and Marketing where she oversaw the development of long-term strategic marketing plans to support Nickelodeon’s major program launches. Reyes joined Nickelodeon in 2006 and held several positions within the Marketing department including Director of Consumer Marketing and Project Manager.
Reyes earned a Bachelor and Master degree in Media Studies from the New School.
- Wared SegerParrot Analytics
- Dan AckermanSamba TV
- Gary LevineShowtime Networks Inc.
Gary Levine serves as President of Programming, Showtime Networks Inc. Levine is responsible for the development and creative oversight of all SHOWTIME original scripted and unscripted series, documentaries and specials across all platforms. Levine also has oversight of casting and program operations for the network.
Since Gary Levine joined the network as head of original programming in 2001, Showtime has been transformed into a major series player with provocative, distinctive and acclaimed series that include Homeland, SMILF, Billions, Twin Peaks, The Affair, Ray Donovan, Shameless, White Famous, Nurse Jackie, I’m Dying Up Here, Weeds, Episodes, The L Word, The Tudors, House of Lies, Masters of Sex, Penny Dreadful, Californication, Dexter, and the upcoming series The Chi. In addition to his series work, Levine has overseen the network’s original movies and documentaries including Academy Award® contenders Risk, Weiner, Zero Days, Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars, Listen To Me Marlon, Whitney. Can I Be Me, Prophet’s Prey, the non-fiction series, The Circus and the Emmy® Award-winning environmental docu-series Years of Living Dangerously.
Prior to joining Showtime Networks, Levine served as President of Icebox, a pioneering Internet entertainment company, where he produced 30 flash-animated web series created by “A-list” writers from TV and film. Previously, Levine headed development at Warner Brothers Television, Witt-Thomas Productions and ABC (drama), resulting in several memorable primetime series including The West Wing, Blossom, and the inimitable Twin Peaks.
Levine began his professional career in theatre and was a producer with New York’s Roundabout Theatre, The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, and served for five years as the Managing Director of the acclaimed Williamstown Theatre Festival.
In 2015, Levine was honored by the Los Angeles Leadership Academy for his dedication to their unique, inner city educational programs. He is a long-time board member of the Williamstown Theatre Festival and is also a member of the Harpur College Advocacy Council at his alma mater, Binghamton University. Levine was the Honoree of the 2018 Williamstown Theatre Festival Gala. A practicing lay cantor, Levine lives in Santa Monica with his wife Maxine, and has two daughters.
- Abbey ThomasTremor Video DSP
Abbey Thomas is the chief marketing officer for Tremor Video DSP. She is responsible for linking the company’s product innovations to its customer-focused operations in order to build the brand, increase awareness and drive revenue for the organization. In her previous role, she oversaw the entertainment and automotive verticals for Tremor Video and was the founding member of the vertical strategy at the company. Thomas also spearheaded an exclusive category for TV retargeting, which allows brands to own the modern day living room by connecting their digital messages directly to the TV screen. She is based in Santa Monica, CA.
- Paula KaplanViacom Studios
- Jay LevineWarner Bros. Digital Networks
Jay Levine is Executive Vice President of Warner Bros. Digital Networks (WBDN) where he is responsible for the group’s day-to-day operations, including ad sales, marketing, distribution, finance, business development and planning, and the oversight of Warner Bros.’ rapidly growing OTT services, its digital-native content production, and the further development of its direct-to-consumer capabilities. WBDN’s current portfolio includes OTT services DC Universe, DramaFever, Boomerang and FilmStruck; the gamer network Machinima; the digital-native production company Stage 13; Uninterrupted (a partnership with LeBron James and Maverick Carter); and Ellen Digital Ventures (a partnership with Ellen DeGeneres). WBDN works closely with Warner Bros.’ sister companies, Turner and HBO, to build Time Warner’s overall direct-to-consumer presence.
Before his promotion, Levine had served as Senior Vice President, Business & Strategic Planning, Warner Bros. Television Group (WBTVG), a post to which he was promoted in 2012. He played an integral role in developing, planning and implementing key initiatives including the expansion of The CW through digital partnerships with Netflix and Hulu, the development of new linear and on-demand distribution windows for WBTVG series, the acquisition and growth of Alloy Entertainment across books, TV and film and the build-out of Blue Ribbon Content, WBTVG’s short-form programming production unit, as well as the creation of new strategic partnerships which helped lead to the formation of WBDN. Before that, he was Vice President, Business Planning, the role in which he joined the company in 2009.
Prior to joining WBTVG, Levine worked at The Walt Disney Company in its Corporate Strategy and Business Development Group following his tenure as the Senior Manager, Finance & Business Development for ESPN.com. Levine began his career at Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. in New York in its Media & Entertainment Group of the Investment Banking Division. Levine earned both his Bachelor of Science in Economics and a MBA in Accounting and Finance from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
- Brooke KarzenWarner Horizon Unscripted & Alternative Television
Brooke Karzen is the Executive Vice President, Unscripted & Alternative at Warner Horizon Unscripted & Alternative Television (WHUATV). Karzen has held that role since July 2015, and reports to Warner Bros. Unscripted & Alternative Television President Mike Darnell.
As WHUATV’s top unscripted executive since 2008, Karzen has grown the company’s series slate from its initial series: “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette” and “America’s Best Dance Crew” to a studio-record number of shows including such mega hits as, “The Voice,” “Ellen’s Game of Games,” “Little Big Shots” and the recently announced “The World’s Best.” In her role, Karzen is responsible for all creative affairs, development, current programming, and other matters related to original television series and works closely with key executive producers such as Mike Fleiss Mark Burnett, Arthur Smith, as well as key talent brands like Ellen DeGeneres’ A Very Good Production, LeBron James’ SpringHill Entertainment, and Steve Harvey’s East 112th Street Productions.
Karzen’s latest project is the highly anticipated, global competition series “The World’s Best,” which is produced by WHUATV and MGM Television for CBS, where she will also serve as an executive producer alongside Burnett and Darnell.
Karzen’s tenure at the company is most closely associated with “The Bachelor,” having overseen the long-running franchise since its inception. In addition to the flagship series, Karzen also oversees the highly successful brand extensions: “The Bachelorette,” “Bachelor in Paradise,” “After Paradise,” and the franchise’s newest iteration: “Bachelor Winter Games” for the ABC Television Network. Karzen’s collaboration with Fleiss and Next Entertainment also included the re-launch of the dating show “Love Connection” for FOX, and the recently announced “The Proposal” for ABC.
For NBC, Karzen and her team were instrumental in the development and production of recent breakout hits “Ellen’s Game of Games,” hosted and executive produced by Ellen DeGeneres, and “Little Big Shots,” starring Steve Harvey, and executive produced by Harvey and DeGeneres. Karzen also played a key role in bringing the Emmy® Award-winning, venerable music competition series “The Voice” to the network.
Additionally, Karzen was responsible for WHUATV’s first live musical, bringing together Marc Platt, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the creative team behind La La Land and the Tony-winning musical “Dear Evan Hansen,” to produce the holiday special, “A Christmas Story Live,” for FOX.
Immediately prior to being promoted to her current position, Karzen had served as Senior Vice President, Alternative Programming, at WHUATV, since June 2008.
She joined Warner Bros. in 2000 as Vice President, Programming, Telepictures Productions, serving as the creative affairs executive supervising projects produced by Mike Fleiss’ Next Entertainment. During her tenure at Telepictures, she oversaw development and programming for a number of titles, including “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette,” “Trista and Ryan’s Wedding,” and “High School Reunion,” among others. Karzen was later promoted to Senior Creative Executive at Telepictures before joining Warner Horizon Television in that same capacity in 2006.
Prior to coming to Warner Bros., Karzen was Vice President, Development, at The Walt Disney Company’s Buena Vista Television, where she developed first-run television projects for syndication, cable and network television. At Buena Vista, Karzen was involved in the launch of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” on ABC.
Karzen was born in Louisville, Kentucky and received a BFA in Theatre Arts from Boston University. She lives in Los Angeles with her wife and their daughter, Annabelle.
- Kelly SoudersConsulting Producer
- Jason FlickYou.i.TV
Jason is a veteran in the world of enterprise growth and management, having founded and scaled a number of successful software companies in the past, most notably Flick Software, Eftia, and N-Able. Jason believes in disrupting the status quo, which is what led him to start You.i TV with co-founder Stuart Russell. Jason is currently a sitting member of the board for Turner Ad Labs, Invest Ottawa, and Flick Software.
- SallyAnn SalsanopJersey Shore Family Vacation
SallyAnn Salsano is the Founder, Executive Producer and CEO of the Daytime and Primetime Emmy nominated bona fide hit factory, 495 Productions. They boast one of the most diverse, entertaining and commercially successful rosters of reality programming on television, with hit series spanning multiple networks.
Since its inception in 2007, Salsano has been the creative force behind each of the company’s dynamic series. As the creator of the highest-rated series on both MTV (“Jersey Shore”) and CMT (“Party Down South”). Along with the record breaking MTV hit “Jersey Shore Family Vacation,” VH1 “Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party,” Salsano has cemented the reputation of 495 Productions as being one of the industry’s leading production companies.
By continuing to create a wildly diverse portfolio of ground-breaking television, Salsano and her 495 Productions hail credits from networks including NBC (“Nashville Star”); FOX (“More to Love,” “The Real,” the successful syndicated daytime talk show); MTV (“Floribama Shore,” “Snooki & J-Woww,” “FriendZone,” “Disaster Date,” “The Pauly D Project,” “Winter Break: Hunter Mountain,” “A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila,” “A Shot at Love 2,” “A Double Shot at Love: Shot at Love 3,” “Jerks with Cameras”); BRAVO (“Invite Only: Cabo); HGTV (“Design Star,” “The Antonio Project,” “$250,000 Challenge”); SPIKE (“Tattoo Nightmares,” “Tattoo Games”); CNBC (“Blue Collar Millionaires”); NAT GEO (“Taboo USA”); OXYGEN (“Dance Your Ass off,” “Tattoos After Dark,” “It Takes a Sister,” “Tanisha Gets Married”); LIFETIME (“Mother/Daughter Experiment: Celebrity Edition,” “Love Handles”); SYFY (“Fangasm,” “Viral Video Showdown”); TLC (“Hear Me, Love Me, See Me,” “Wedding Island”); TV Guide (“Nail Files”); ABC Family (“Freak Out”); VH1 (“Tool Academy,” “Wedding Wars,” “Mama Drama”); WE-TV (“Love Blows,” “Ex-Isle”); and VICELAND (“The Untitled Action Bronson Show”) among others.
In a monumental moment for both Salsano and 495 Productions, Fremantle Media North America acquired a majority stake in the company in 2014. Salsano remains at the creative helm of the organization, solidifying her reputation as the most hands-on executive producer in reality television.
As one of the most recognized and successful leaders in the entertainment industry, Salsano has been honored for her exemplary work by The Hollywood Reporter, who featured her on their “Reality TV: Most Powerful” list for three years in a row, and included her in their “Women in Entertainment Power 100” list, as well. Variety Magazine also included Salsano on their “Reality Impact Report” for the last five consecutive years.
Salsano began her career in New York City as an intern for the “Howard Stern Show” and on “The Sally Jesse Raphael Show,” spending five years working for “Sally” as she worked her way up to the role of producer.
After relocating to Los Angeles, prior to launching her own shingle, Salsano was a showrunner for ABC’s “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette,” “Trista and Ryan’s Wedding,” and “Extreme Makeover: Wedding Addition,” as well as FOX’s “Surprise Weddings.”
Salsano has spoken about her successful career and the art of producing at many panels and events, including: The NY Television Festival; NATPE; BROADCASTING AND CABLE’s Women in Hollywood Panel; the PRODUCED BY conference; the TRUE/FALSE FILM FESTIVAL; REALSCREEN EAST; REALSCREEN WEST; and has been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, People Magazine, The Huffington Post, Ad Week and on ABC’s “20/20.”
Although Salsano makes her primary residence in Los Angeles, she can more likely be found on location at any of the 495 Productions’ production shoots around the world.